Rates and Time > Teaching Activities > Cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology exercise

Cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology exercise

Maya Elrick
Earth and Planetary Sciences- University of New Mexico
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Simple classroom activity to highlight how cyclostratigraphy and concepts of astronchronology can be used to refine age control in sedimentary rocks, estimate rates of processes, and for time control and correlation.

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Upper division required sedimentology-stratigraphy class or perhaps an advanced Earth History course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need background in magnetostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, basics of Milankovitch orbital parameters, and some marine sedimentology.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand alone exercise completed in one 30 minute class period. It could be a homework assignment.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Goals are to illustrate how various stratigraphic tools, radiometric dating, and Milankovitch climate change can be used to provide age control in sedimentary rocks.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Exercise involves analysis of data, synthesis of ideas, and formulation of hypotheses.

Other skills goals for this activity

Simple mathematics (division) & brief written answers.

Description of the activity/assignment

This hypothetical Miocene exercise is designed to bring together knowledge of marine sedimentology, magnetostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy, and biostratigraphy to illustrate how climate changes related to Milankovitch orbital forcing can be used to refine the time scale, determine the timing of events, and estimate rates ("astrochronology").

Determining whether students have met the goals

Determine if the students got the answers to the questions correct.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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